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Ramsayings

A Blog About Nothing in Particular

Brian Eno – Reflection

David Bowie was, to me, my Dylan. He was one of the few artists I always felt I could spend more time with and never spent enough. When he died last year, I wrestled with how to mourn him.

Shortly thereafter, I must’ve been watching the documentary 5 Years that I learned how Bowie adored Eno’s Discreet Music, a record that I’d enjoyed but hadn’t devoted myself to in any meaningful way. I must’ve listened to it nightly for weeks, if not months, while putting the boys to bed, letting the opening track 1/1 envelop me in the darkness.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my music app to discover Brian Eno has released Reflection, an hour of ambient music, informed by his earlier work and equally satisfying.

More interesting is how Eno refers to it as generative music. Bob Boilen mentioned on All Songs Considered that for $40, you can purchase an app that iterates the sounds from Reflection in unique new ways and, thanks to an algorithm, without repeating. I plan to spend as much time or more with this music in 2017 as I did mourning Bowie last year.

Spoon – Hot Thoughts

I haven’t been this excited for new music from Spoon in some time. Maybe since Gimme Fiction? I loved Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, liked a few tracks on Transference and then I’m embarrassed to admit that I slept through They Want My Soul altogether.

The lead single, “Hot Thoughts,” strikes a familiar chord: it is unmistakably a Spoon record, finding a groove and locking it in. I’m looking forward to hearing more in March.

Brock Winthrop – Pastoral Scene

I heard this song at the end of an episode of Chapo Trap House earlier this year and found a link over on the Chapo subreddit. This hits all the right notes for me, blending memories of my favorite 90’s pop acts, notably Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet.

LVL UP – Hidden Driver

Heard Sub Pop’s LVL UP on All Songs Considered as I drove to Cincinnati last night. Not only are the perfect for the person who’s still obsessed with Neutral Milk Hotel, but this song, “Hidden Driver,” is about a website co-founded by one of my very talented grad school classmates, Astra Taylor! I’m excited to hear LVL UP’s Return to Love at the end of next month.

In Praise of Dinosaur Jr.

Have I really not written anything about Dinosaur Jr. since this post? Seems so, apart from a passing reference in 2011 to J Mascis’ excellent Several Shades of Why back in 2011. It’s crazy, because when I really think about it, Dinosaur Jr. may be that band that somehow survives every critical hangup I ought to have about them.

I mean, I found things wrong with my favorites that makes it hard to understand how I ever loved them so much in the first place. R.E.M., neatly summed up in a 2-part podcast over at Shallow Rewards, is one example. Pavement, Spoon and Sonic Youth? Love them barely ever listen to them these days. Even bands I fell in love with as an adult, like Fiery Furnaces, Liars and TV on the Radio feel dated.

Somehow, I don’t feel the same way about Dinosaur Jr. Maybe it’s the unmistakable crunchy riffing or the timelessness of J Mascis’ voice, but there’s something deeply satisfying about them. I find myself returning to these records and Mascis’ recent solo work more often than I realize.

As summer fades and fall draws near, I know I’ll be spending more time with their latest record, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, like a favorite sweater.